Halogen Cults


Winston rolled over groggily, hit the snooze button on his alarm clock, and went back to sleep. He wanted to know how his dream would end.

The pretty girl without a name is leading me by the hand, quickly down a garden path. Lined on both sides with lilac bushes in full bloom, the path seems to lead on forever. It is late spring and a cool breeze is blowing, even though the air around us is warm.

I look around, not recognizing our surroundings. She senses my hesitation. She slows her pace for a moment, turning to me. She doesn't say a word - doesn't have to. Her eyes are filled with fear and excitement and hope, yet she seems at ease. It is as though she has spent her entire life in preparation for this moment. She looks deep into my eyes, as though she is reading my mind.

"Come on," she whispers at last. "We don't have not much time."

With that, she gives my hand a squeeze, and quickens her pace.

The path lets out onto a clearing where the lilac bushes have given way to taller, nondescript shrubs. The sun moves behind a cloud. There is a small shed here, the kind used to house lawn and garden equipment. We stop in front of it.

"Are you ready?" she asks.

Without waiting for my reply, she reaches out to the exterior wall of the shed, and a door appears. She turns the knob and opens the door. She ushers me inside, closing the door quietly behind us. The door vanishes. She flicks on a light switch, causing the interior of the shed to be bathed in a warm glow. I am startled by a sudden loud noise.


Winston sat up and looked around. His gaze fell upon his alarm clock. He hit the snooze button again, lay back down, and closed his eyes. This brief interruption was enough to make him forget much of his dream. He was irritated. He tried to will himself back to sleep, anxious to resume dreaming where he had left off.

A bright, warm light fills the shed. It is unlike any light I have ever seen before. I see colours I have never seen before. It is somewhat frightening, but also serene and beautiful. The red lawnmower, the yellow rake, the orange spade, it all seems unreal. I have never seen such vivid colours before.

The experience reminds me of the time I was 14 years old and heard music for the first time in my life. I had snuck away from town and found it abandoned in the woods. The letter-markings on the device said iPod, and there was a picture of a half-eaten fruit engraved on it. I knew that music was forbidden by the elders, but I did not care. I listened to it until the batteries wore out. The experience was mesmerizing. I have played back the music in my memory every day since then.

"Do you see?" asks my guide.

I turn and look at her. She is beautiful. The brilliant light picks up the highlights in her hair. Her skin looks soft, her smile is radiant, and her eyes sparkle. The light is the music. I want to kiss her, as though by doing so I could kiss the light that fills the shed around us. I lean forward and --


Winston did not even wake up this time. He unconsciously hit the snooze button for the third time, without interrupting his dream.

-- kiss her. Her lips are soft and her hair smells nice. She is a dream, but she embraces me tightly. My eyes are closed, but the light is bright. The shed is silent, but I hear music.

I continue to hold her close to me as she tells me about the light.

"All your life, you have seen the world bathed in a cold, green, artificial light called fluorescent. It makes people's skin look sallow, making them unattractive. It causes glare and eyestrain. It makes you tired.

"It flickers on and off 60 times a second, so fast that you don't notice it, but slow enough to make motion jittery, like a strobe light. Your brain waves run as high as 30 cycles per second when you are most alert, so that the fluorescent light is its first harmonic. This frequency resonance is what makes you irritable when your brain is working at its fastest.

"The elders of the halogen cults discovered that they could use this resonance property to embed messages in the fluorescent bulbs to control your mind. That is why the fluorescent lights are used in your home, your office, the stores, and everywhere else. They banned the use of halogen lights because they knew that their light shines continuously, so that their mind control cannot work.

"This shed is the sanctuary of the halogen cults. The light you see is coming from halogen bulbs suspended in the ceiling above us. The elders of the halogen cults meet here and turn on the lights to engage in free thought and to plan the future. Your future. Our future."

I am overwhelmed by this information. I do not know what to say. I feel as though I can see and think clearly for the first time in my life, when suddenly I hear dogs barking and sirens wailing.

"They’ve found us!" she cries out.

The sirens grow louder, more urgent, closing in.


Winston awoke with a start, and stared at his alarm clock for several seconds. He turned it off and dragged himself out of bed. His dream already forgotten, he stumbled into the bathroom and reached for the light.

Just as he was about to turn it on, a strange thought occurred to him and he paused.

"Halogen cults." The words echoed in his mind, their origin a mystery, as if from a dream. How strange.

Winston shrugged. He flicked on the fluorescent light overhead and reached for his toothbrush without giving it a second thought.


Anonymous said…

I like this game.
Sassan Sanei said…
It's difficult sometimes to get creative and just write. Thanks for the topic suggestion!

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